Food Academy is a joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office Network which gives small producers a big chance. Since its inception in 2014, has supported over 600 small producers across Ireland – one of which is Maria Leahy founder of Bake It Easy. Find out more about Food Academy at www.supervalu.ie.
Can you tell us about your product?
It’s a beautifully presented set of delicious cookie mixes designed to make baking easy, fun and accessible to the young and not so young. The cookie mixes give all the convenience of quick and easy baking without the compromise on quality – the finished cookies are truly divine. Once you taste your own home baked Bake it Easy cookies, the convenience biscuit will never seem the same again! We have 4 delicious flavours to choose from and we’re delighted to have made the finals of this year’s Blas na hEireann awards with two of these.
What inspired you to create your product?
Being a mom myself but also a lover of home baking I felt there was a lack of high quality baking mixes available on Irish shelves that I was happy to use with my children. Also I wanted to create something that would entice people to bake at home by showing how simple but fun baking can be and possibly inspire people to bake and share with each other. This emphasis on hand making and sharing is especially great for children as they can own the whole process and feel as though they’ve created something fabulous themselves. From my own childhood baking was something that gave me confidence in my ability to create something others could enjoy – it’s a very rewarding thing!
What sets your product apart from similar products?
I think the cookie mixes offer something a little different to the Irish consumer; as soon as you see the fabulous display of ingredients you’re excited to try a little home baking. Our recipes are really fun and easy to use but also really delicious. Baking the cookies is designed to be easy enough for a four year old to with mixing dough and rolling balls – it’s a great way to get people into baking or also as an easy way to whip up some homemade delicious treats for guests or a get together!
Also how we present the baking mixes is different – by breaking out and showing everything that is in the mix we’re showing people exactly what they’re baking with and just how simple it is to bake at home – we’re simply giving you a collection of really good ingredients in the right measure.
How has your product evolved since you launched it?
The cookie mixes have grown through feedback from our customers and also the super mentoring we received through SuperValu and the Food Academy. Food Academy helped us to express our vision as a brand but also it allowed us the opportunity to offer our product directly to customers while also having the chance to chat with our customers and hear feedback – an incredible chance to allow the customers to design the product in ways. Through feedback we enhanced our branding and packaging to express what Bake it Easy is all about – fun, easy, delicious baking! We reduced the cost of the mixes by reducing the size slightly and also offered a new lighter cookie flavour in our Oat and Strawberry mix.
Where can you buy your product and how much does it cost?
The cookie mixes are currently available in SuperValu stores across Cork, Kerry, Limerick and some in Waterford and Mayo. They currently retail at €3.99 in store. You can also purchase the mixes online at www.bakeiteasy.ie where you can get 2 mixes delivered anywhere in Ireland for €10.00.
What does the future hold for your business?
Plenty of challenges no doubt but also some success hopefully. We do hope to see our mixes being available nationwide in the future and we also have other exciting ideas that we would like to bring to fruition given the opportunity.
What advice would you give to small food business start ups?
Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done, with hard work and persistence anything is possible! Obviously the numbers have to make sense but if you are thinking of starting a food business make sure it is something that you are truly passionate about and are prepared to work hard for – once you have these ingredients everything else can be overcome!